Torres targets return to form

While some people may baulk at the hefty fee Chelsea has paid for his services, Torres' doubters will soon disappear once he hits the goal trail. By Rob Guest.

After a prolific start to life in the English Premier League with Liverpool, Fernando Torres is under increasing pressure to rediscover his scoring touch after moving to Chelsea.

There is no denying the talent Torres possesses, but the striker looks a shadow of his former self.

Injuries have certainly hampered the 27-year-old over the past two seasons and after watching Spain win the World Cup final from the substitutes' bench for the vast majority of the game, you could say there is a confidence issue.

Since returning from South Africa last summer, Torres has failed to shine, although that did not stop Chelsea paying a British transfer record GBP50million for his services on deadline day in January.

It was during Chelsea's trip to Anfield earlier in the season when Torres was at his vintage best as he fired the ball past a motionless Petr Cech to double Liverpool's lead during the home side's 2-0 win.

It is moments like these that people have forgotten about as Torres has gone seven games without a goal since switching to Stamford Bridge. In Chelsea's recent UEFA Champions League trip to Copenhagen, though, it looked as if the Torres of old had returned, even if a goal was missing.

The deadly movement was back and the eye for goal was still there, even if his clinical first touch let him down at times.

Torres is a confidence player and when he opens his Chelsea account, he will be expected to get back to his formidable best after plundering 81 goals in three-and-a-half years at Liverpool after moving to England from Atletico Madrid in 2007.

From an early age, Atletico had a star on their hands. At 15, ‘El Nino' had already signed a professional contract with the club he supported growing up and at the end of the 2000-01 season, he had made his first-team debut in Atletico's Spanish Segunda Division clash with CD Leganes.

Torres scored six times in 36 appearances during the following season as Atletico gained promotion back to the Spanish Primera Division. This provided the perfect platform for Torres to showcase his talents and he was named as club captain at the tender age of 19.

His impressive performances earned him a call-up to Spain's Euro 2004 squad, but he had to make do with substitute appearances with the legendary Raul ahead of him.

Liverpool came calling in 2007 and Torres made an instant impact in the Premier League, netting on his Anfield debut against Chelsea and 36 in total for club and country at the end of his first season in England, including the winner in the Euro 2008 final between Spain and Germany.

With Torres in blistering form, Liverpool pushed Manchester United all the way in the 2008-09 title race, finishing just four points behind in second.

Last season, however, was one to forget as his campaign was cut short through injury and the Reds failed to qualify for the Champions League.

Despite knee surgery, Torres was named in Spain's World Cup-winning squad, but he played little part and looked a totally different player, paving the way eventually for his Anfield exit at the start of 2011.

While some people may baulk at the hefty fee Chelsea have paid for his services, Torres' doubters will soon disappear once he hits the goal trail. Torres is married to Olalla Liste and the couple have two children. The striker currently owns a top-of-the-range Audi Q7.


Name: Fernando Torres Position: Striker Club: Chelsea D.O.B: 20/04/84 Spain caps: 82 Spain goals: 26 Spain debut: v Portugal, 2003 Moment to remember: Scoring the winning goal for Spain in the Euro 2008 final against Germany. Moment to forget: Watching Spain win the World Cup last summer while spending the majority of the tournament on the sidelines

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